Freed Chibok Girls To Be Reunited With Their Families Next Week

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According to the Minister of Womens Affairs, Sen. Aisha Alhassan, the 82 Chibok schoolgirls who were released after being held for more than three years by Boko Haram will be reunited with their parents next week.

According to the minister, the parents will travel from the northeastern town in Borno state to meet their daughters in the capital, Abuja.

“Any parents that identified their children will be brought next week to see them,” she told AFP at the staff quarters of the Department of State Services.

The 82 girls have been staying at the domestic intelligence agency facility on the outskirts of the city since their release in a prisoner swap deal on Saturday after months of negotiations. The Islamist militants kidnapped 276 girls back in April 2014, triggering global condemnation and drawing attention to the sect. Fifty-seven girls were able to escape in the immediate aftermath. Of the 219 who did not manage to flee, 106 have either been released or found, leaving 113 still missing.

First Lady Aisha Buhari met with some of the Chibok girls on Wednesday. The girls, dressed in colourful traditional ankara print dresses, sang songs and danced in front of the cameras.

The minister added that the recently released 82 girls would be reunited at another facility in the capital with 24 of their classmates who were released or found last year. They will receive “psycho-social therapy” and “vocational training” to help them reintegrate into society. Campaign groups and families have criticised the government for keeping the previously released girls away from their parents but Sen. Alhassan said they were free to come and go from the centre. Most chose to stay in the capital, she had added.

The government’s goal is to have all the girls back in school at the start of the new academic year, she said without specifying where. “I believe from now to September, these other ones (the recently released 82 girls) would have stabilised and we will be able to ‎take all of them back to school in September.”

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